Tip sheet for adults

For Parents: How to talk with your child about violence

When kids have an adult in their life who listens to them, whom they feel they can trust, they are less likely to have mental health issues and are more likely to succeed academically. Here are some tips for talking to your child about violence.

Develop a trusting relationship.

Even when your child engages in behaviors you don’t approve of, let them know you don’t approve but make sure you remind them that you love them just the same.
Be present.

Recognize what they are going through. Things are likely more complicated and challenging than when parents were younger.

Keep an eye out for changes in your child’s behavior.

For example: Are they experiencing headaches and stomach aches that are caused by stress, fear or anxiety?

Keep the lines of communication open.

Don’t pressure your child to talk if they aren’t ready.

Respect that they might not want to tell you something in that moment.

Let them know you are concerned and when they are ready, that you want to help them think of ways to address what’s going on.

If your child doesn’t want you to tell the school, respect that. Come up with a plan in the meantime.

If things don’t get better, talk to them again about engaging with their school. It’s their school’s responsibility to keep them safe.


CBC News consulted with Debra J. Pepler, co-founder of PREVNet, and distinguished research professor, Psychology Department at York University when writing these tips.